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edu180atl: billy peebles 9.13.12

I love working with ninth graders. I love their spontaneity, their candor, their openness, their occasional irreverence!

In our most recent “People of the Book” class, students were asked to share their perspectives on Gandhi’s belief about how we might understand God more fully.  Their insights about Gandhi are profound.  Here are some of the most notable:

1. To understand God, one’s life must correspond with God’s will for us.

2. As we connect with the poor, we receive a clearer vision of God.

3. We must put aside egotism and the desire for material things to comprehend our Creator more fully.

4. As we face up squarely to our shortcomings and flaws, our understanding of God deepens.

5. Suffering provides a painful but sure pathway to a firmer grasp of selfhood and of God.

6. Violence of spirit and body do nothing but separate us from God.

One student offered that we garner a better understanding of God’s nature by being ever “selfless, truthful, nonviolent.”  Another student said that for Gandhi, “love and truth go together” with God and to understand all three in unity, one must be able to “undergo suffering without returning violence or hate.”

Students that give such great voice to Gandhi’s vision of God’s everlasting love and integrity offer me an exciting glimpse of the depth of our upcoming discussions about other founders and refounders of faith and transformational movements.

About the author:Billy Peebles is in his 10th year as Headmaster at the Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia. 

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Billy:

    Thanks for sharing the insights of Lovett 9th graders as they try to understand the teachings of Ganhdi. After reading their takeaways, I am left hopeful that these 9th graders, and many more like them, will take the reins of leadership and guide our society through some perplexing problems that require calm, patience, and maturity.

    Appreciate you sharing these insights with us.


    September 13, 2012
  2. How do we understand God more fully?

    I am a Christian. In my life, I have been asked if I know Jesus. This question has always left me dumbstruck, unable to know how to respond. I’ve read his words, but I don’t think I’ve come to know him through reading Scripture. I know him when I come in contact with people whose spirit lives in him. People like Gandhi.

    Indeed, Jesus tells us by his words that “Insofar as you did this (fed the hungry and gave water to those who thirst) to one of the least, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

    That’s my personal challenge in knowing Jesus. He comes to us in the sick, dying, lonely, disabled, poor, desperate. He comes to us in what we often fear.

    But I also remind myself that I have my own poverty; each of us does. And that’s where God dwells, why he reminds us that the poor are blessed. When I acknowledge my own poverty, I open myself to knowing those who are also poor…and ultimately to knowing Jesus.

    One student insight you shared – “As we connect with the poor, we receive a clearer vision of God” – resonated for me. Oh to have had that clarity in 9th grade! Thank you for sharing this learning experience.

    September 13, 2012
  3. It’s so encouraging to read these spiritual insights from ninth graders! With the discord happening around the world today, we need more than ever to hear these voices who understand the universal teachings of these great spiritual leaders rather than the focus we too often see on the differences and the hate. Gandhi and MLK Jr (who was inspired by Gandhi) have shown so powerfully how much more powerful nonviolence, peace, and love can be in bringing about true and lasting change.

    One of my favorite Gandhi quotes: “I am a Hindu, I am a Moslem, I am a Jew, I am a Christian, I am a Buddhist!”

    September 14, 2012
  4. Stephen Kennedy #

    To help us understand the mind of a student, it’s wonderful to quote that student. Thank you for sharing so many insights from those beautiful minds. And: it takes a true teacher to reach into the learning process and make it come to life for another person — congratulations.

    September 14, 2012
  5. scootd #

    That wonderful old Youngbloods song (1968) comes to mind, “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together….right now”.

    September 15, 2012

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